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Nelson County dropped a 39-25 decision Friday to Bullitt East, as six turnovers spoiled the Cardinals’ home opener.
“You can’t turn it over six times and expect to win any ballgame,” Nelson coach Jamie Egli said.
The Cardinals (1-1) fumbled twice in the first quarter, with one of the miscues ending up being a scoop-and-score by the Chargers to build a 13-0 lead by the end of the frame.
Nelson County was able to get right back in it, however, as Christian McMillan got free for an 81-yard touchdown run to open the second quarter, and the Cardinals managed to tie it at 13-13 midway through the quarter. It was the first of two rushing scores by the speedy junior.
“He made two runs we haven’t seen here in a while,” Egli said. “He’s a big playmaker. He’s going to be a big-time factor in what we’re doing going forward.”
Each time the Cardinals got close, the Chargers (1-1) were able to convert a turnover and stretch the lead back out. Bullitt East built a 23-13 lead by halftime and converted a safety to open the second half to make it 25-13.
It’s not as though the Cardinals didn’t have their chances, though, as they were able to force four Chargers turnovers.
“Our defense played really well,” Egli said. “Defensively, we’re so much better. … But they were on the field the whole night” because of the turnovers.
On the next series after the safety, McMillan struck again, this time from 30 yards out, pulling Nelson County to within 25-19.
The Chargers answered to go up 32-19 late in the third quarter, and the game settled down for a while after that. Midway through the fourth quarter, however, McMillan picked off a pass for a long return, setting up the Cardinals with good field position. Cameron Cornish hit Justin Moore for a 35-yard scoring pass to cut it to 32-25, giving Nelson County a lifeline late.
“We always feel like we’re in the game,” Egli said.
The Cardinals had the ball in the closing minutes of the game with a chance to tie it, but turned it over instead.
“Just a sloppy, sloppy game,” Egli lamented. “Ten turnovers — that’s an ugly game.”
The Chargers scored again with about a minute to go to ice it, setting the margin at 39-25.
Nelson County hosts Thomas Nelson (1-1) Friday.
“We just need to stay positive going forward,” Egli said. “We made a ton of mistakes and battled through it” to have a chance late.